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Israeli air raids 'cause heavy casualties' in Rafah; 2 hostages freed

IANS | February 13, 2024 10:40 AM

GAZA: Hamas-run Health Ministry has said that more than 100 Palestinians were killed and 160 others injured in the Israeli army's heavy air strikes on southern Gaza's Rafah and surrounding areas.

Moreover, 164 Palestinians were killed and 200 others wounded in Israeli raids across the enclave over the past 24 hours, pushing the death toll from the ongoing conflict to 28, 340, and injuries to 67, 984, the ministry was quoted as saying on Monday by Xinhua news agency.

The Israeli military carried out some 40 airstrikes on the Rafah area in the early hours of Monday, with intensive ground shelling, Palestinian eyewitnesses told the news agency.

"A large number of injured victims suffering from (traumatic) amputations and severe burns fled to our hospital, " said Suhaib Al-Hams, Director of Al-Kuwaiti Hospital in the city crowded with displaced people.

Al-Hams added that the Kuwaiti Hospital, one of three hospitals in Rafah, suffers from a severe shortage of medicines and cannot deal with "this large number of victims".

Palestinian security sources in Rafah told the news agency that special Israeli forces secretly arrived at a building located in the Shaboura neighbourhood, central of the city, and after clashes with Hamas members, the two captives were freed.

The sources explained that until now there has been no ground progress and all that happened were successive air strikes on homes and mosques in Rafah.

In an earlier statement, the Israeli army said it conducted a series of strikes on targets in southern Gaza on Monday. The army said it rescued two hostages from Rafah but did not provide other details.

Israel has been launching a large-scale offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip to retaliate against a Hamas rampage through the southern Israeli border on October 7, 2023, during which about 1, 200 people were killed and more than 200 were taken hostage.

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